It’s been a rough few years for most of the planet. Between the pandemic, global crises, inflation, and the roller coasters of the stock market, job market and housing market, it’s not surprising that demand for therapists is surging and it’s not surprising that you are out here searching for the best therapist Calgary.

In fact, according to a recent study from the American Psychological Association, psychologists are seeing a sharp spike in patients who report issues such as anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and substance abuse. Burnout is everywhere, millions of people have lost loved ones to COVID, and people are quitting their jobs in record numbers. It’s the perfect storm.

Maybe you’ve been thinking about going to therapy for a while or just woke up one morning and realized it’s time. But knowing you need a therapist isn’t the same as getting one. There are tons of variables to weigh, considering all the options available out there – and how to match your specific needs with the right counsellor.

Read More

Psychodynamic therapy

Also known as Freudian therapy, psychoanalysis is a long-term process in which you talk about anything that pops into your head – especially your childhood. The goal is to allow your free-association to unearth patterns and unconscious thoughts that are making your life a challenge. Psychodynamic therapy may be helpful for treating: anxiety, depression, eating disorders, or addictions.

Behavioural therapy

This approach is more about the effect than the cause. The goal is to figure out how to change the problematic reactions you have to upsetting situations. Some techniques used in behavioural therapy include systematic desensitization (a fancy word for getting over your fears) and aversion therapy (associating the problematic behaviour with something uncomfortable, such as snapping a rubber band on your wrist every time you bite your nails). Behavioural therapy may help with: phobias, addiction, ADHD, OCD, anxiety and problematic behaviours.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)

A short-term approach, CBT believes that we all have limiting beliefs that cause distress in our life. Identifying unhelpful thought patterns can help us break free from them – and replace them with more advantageous thoughts and behaviours. CBT can help address: depression, anxiety, phobias, OCD, eating disorders, addiction, and insomnia.

Creative Therapy

As its name suggests, creative Therapy involves artist media – music or visual arts – to improve the client’s life. It can help boost a client’s mood, enable them to experience a range of emotions, or gain a sense of mastery that is then transferable to other aspects of their life. Often used to supplement other approaches (such as CBT), creative therapy is especially helpful for patients who struggle with verbal expression (children, traumatised individuals or individuals with disabilities), as it allows them to express deep emotion in alternative ways.

While it could come as a relief to know you have so many options, it’s also totally normal to feel overwhelmed by the various approaches available. Your family physician is a good resource to help you sort through them.

A few questions can help you focus your search:

How To Decide on the Best Therapist Calgary

  • What is your main concern to address with the therapist? (If you have a specialized need, make sure they have experience treating that issue.)
  • Does your therapist’s identity matter to you? Do you care about gender, race, age, cultural or religious background?
  • What is your budget? (Some therapists offer low-cost, sliding scale or group options.)
  • What kind of schedule constraints do you have?
  • Do you prefer online or in-person sessions?

These questions can help filter out any bad matches – but keep in mind you may need to try out a given therapist or approach for some time before confirming it’s the one for you.

There’s no shame in changing therapists if you don’t feel comfortable. Just be sure to give it enough time to make a thorough assessment.

Once you’ve decided on a specific approach and eliminated therapists that don’t fit your basic needs, you can call their office and ask more detailed questions.

Best Therapist Calgary

How do you guarantee results?

It’s important to choose a therapeutic approach that fits your goals, but you also have to know what built-in processes help determine what success means. Do they just let you talk for months on end, with no tangible signs of improvement or do they have metrics? Do they have a set plan for how long it should expect to take or could you expect to spend the rest of your life chatting on their couch? (How comfy is their couch?)

Therapy is an investment of time and money, not to mention trust. You deserve to know how the therapist will determine whether things are moving in the right direction. It’s easier to avoid starting a problematic relationship than to get out of one, so ask these questions up front to increase the chances of success.

What Training do Your Therapists Have?

If you are looking to work with an individual therapist, you can easily determine their credentials. However, if you are looking at a larger practice, you need to know how they keep their standards high across the board. Even if a practice has a good reputation, make sure they have a plan to guarantee consistent results. Ask any prospective practice how their counsellors are educated and what ongoing training they receive.

If you’re looking for a therapist (Calgary downtown or Calgary), you’ll have plenty of options to choose from. With these guidelines in mind, your search should go smoothly.